Decision on bank charges appeal expected this month

15 January 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
Thousands of consumers are still waiting to find out whether or not they will be able to reclaim their bank charges with the result of a test case into the matter between the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and eight major high street banks.

In 2008, High Court judge Mr Justice Andrew Smith ruled that the OFT could determine whether or not the charges are fair.

The firms involved in the test case – Abbey, Barclays, Clydesdale Bank, HBOS, HSBC bank, Lloyds TSB, RBS and Nationwide Building Society - swiftly launched an appeal against the ruling, and this has been ongoing since October.

This week, the courts have come back out to make a ruling, and, according to spokesperson Corinne Gladstone, the OFT hopes to see a decision on the appeal by the end of this month,

The banks have reportedly been raking in more than £2million a year by charging their customers as much as £30 each time they exceeded their authorised overdraft or bounced a cheque or direct debit.

Many customers already claimed back what the OFT has deemed 'unfair' bank charges, but in 2007, the Financial Services Authority put a freeze on reclaiming bank charges until the issue was settled in court to provide clarity for consumers and banks.

Some people who made a claim were successfully getting their money back, including interest lost, while some received their money only to have their current accounts closed by their bank, and others received nothing, so the FSA halted any further compensation until the fairness and legality of the charges are made clear and people are treated consistently.

Despite the freeze on claiming back bank charges, consumer rights groups are still encouraging people to make a claim now so that when a decision is finally made they could get their money back sooner.

Find out how much you could claim using our bank charges calculator and reclaim bank charges

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